New research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that long-term exposure to anabolic-androgenic steroids may be associated with substantial impairment of the heart, including a reduction in pumping performance and damage to the arteries.
The observational study assessed a sample of male weightlifters age 34-54, comparing men who used anabolic steroids with non-users. Seventy-one percent of the steroid users had impairment of their heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently, compared to non-users, who had largely normal blood pumping capability. In addition, users had significantly higher coronary plaque volume than non-users. The authors suggest that long-term anabolic steroid use may represent a clinically substantial and largely unrecognized public health problem. The study indicates the need for improved awareness among clinicians who can discuss the potential adverse cardiovascular effects of steroids with patients and provide referrals to interventions as needed.
For a copy of the paper — "Cardiovascular Toxicity of Illicit Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use" — published in Circulation, go to: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/135/21/1991.
For information about anabolic steroids, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/steroids-anabolic.
NIDA Press Office
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